ATMS 360 Homework and Course Deliverables (return to main page)
[How to write lab report]


Assignment 3

The goal of this quick-study style lab is to become familiar with meteorological radar used to measure precipitation.
Examples are on this page.

Submission through webcampus is preferred. Copy these questions to MS word and work on them.
Be sure to give your sources for answers. We'll go through this in class.

1. What diameter range are raindrops?
2. What is the shape of raindrops?
3. Why don't raindrops get arbitrarily large?

Local Rain Measurements:
4. What is the rainfall rate equation?
5. How does a simple rain gauge work?
6. How does a tipping bucket rain gauge measure rain?
7. How does a disdrometer work?

Weather Radar basic presentation; brief presentation for dbZ; animation
8. What is the name of weather radars used by the National Weather Service?
9. What wavelength range used by this radar?
10. Briefly, how does radar work to measure rain?
11. Calculate the size parameter x=2 pi * Raindrop Radius / radar wavelength.
12. What 'radiation regime' is the size parameter of equation 11? Note that it is the same radiation regime that gives rise to the blue sky on a clear day. Note.
13. What is the basic relationship for radar backscattering in terms of number of raindrops per volume, back scattering strength, droplet diameter D, and radar wavelength lambda? Note.
14. Why must the radar be empirically calibrated given question 13, and question 4?
15. How does Doppler radar work? What can be detected with it?
16. How does dual polarization radar work, and what can be detected with it?





Assignment 2

Purpose: Broad overview of atmospheric instrumentation measurements.

This is an online homework assignment and is described on webCampus.



Assignment 1

To explore radiosonde measurements of atmospheric properties around the world.
To establish the format and style needed for report writing for rest of the semester, and thereafter.
To visit the Reno National Weather Service (NWS) office to watch a balloon launch, and to learn about what they do.
We have a visit to the Reno NWS office on the 30th of January in the afternoon. Here's the location.

Turn in this homework assignment through webCampus.

Prepare a report using Google Earth, MSword, and Excel to explore the following.

Meteorology of the world: Use Google Earth to view these two locations, Rochambeau French Guiana and Barrow Alaska USA.
Look at data for 12Z, 8 January 2018
Near equator: Rochambeau French Guiana (get sounding for SOCA from the Wyoming site, plot pressure and temperature vs height, calculate density and plot versus height)
Near north pole: Barrow Alaska (get sounding for PABR from the Wyoming site, plot pressure and temperature vs height, calculate density and plot versus height)
Then fit a trendline for ln(Pressure) vs height to obtain the scale height of the atmosphere at these two locations, considering data to a height of 2 km, using the solver in Excel for doing the fitting.
Compare and contrast the difference in the meteorology between these two sites for 8 January 2018.

A. Meteorological data can be obtained from the University of Wyoming web site.
B. Most (or all) computers readily accessible to all students, using their netID, have Google Earth, MSword, and Excel.
C. You can use your netID to also access these software packages through the UNR remote services application.
D. Students should be able to install MS Office software packages on their own computers as well.

E. National weather service site describing radiosonde measurements.
F. Reno National weather service site providing a virtual tour of radiosonde launches.
G. Grand Junction Colorado NWS site discussing radiosonde data.

H. Raw data from the balloon launch we attended on Tuesday, 30 January 2018, in case we work more with it.



Lab reports will be written the same format we use for scientific papers and for student senior, MS, and PhD theses.
One goal of this class is to work on your ability as a science writer.
So often we are obsessed with the technical details of the measurements that we don't cover the science adequately.
The following elements are needed for your lab report to be complete.
Here is an example of some hints I found using a google search with the keyword "how to write a scientific paper".
Page length doesn't matter; it's all about the contents.
Make it as short as possible to get the message across in a clear manner.

Title: The title should cover the science objective and maybe mention the instrument(s) used for the measurement.

Abstract: The abstract is a brief discussion of the findings of your work. It should be well written because it is often what is read as someone makes a decision to read your work (or fund your research).
Hint on writing abstracts.

Introduction: Explain the scientific goal in more detail and maybe hint at the measurement methods used.

Measurements: Discuss the measurement methods, including uncertainties.
Discuss the instrument(s) and the pertinent information needed to convey what you measured.

Observations: Display your observations and interpret them for your reader.
Make clear, legible graphs with large fonts, clear symbols, and clearly documented results.

Figures: Provide figures, each figure with a number and caption.
Figures must be in publication format -- high quality figures with 16 point (or greater) bold black font; tick marks inside.
All axes 1 point thick and black.
Each figure must be discussed in the text by number, describing the significance of the figure and its relationship to other figures as needed.

Equations: Equations should be offset, as in a textbook, and each equation should have a number.
Refer to equations by number in the text.

Conclusions: The conclusion should summarize your observations and perhaps make suggestions for future work.

References: References refer to specific articles and/or books, etc, that you reference in your paper.



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